(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway returned to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the SK Light Xtra Mart Xtra D program on Friday, July 3rd. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance SK Light feature event. Rowan Pennink scored his fifth win of the season in the SK Modified® feature in what turned out to be a thrilling finish, Tom Fearn also scored win #5 of the season in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry was a first time winner in 2015 by taking the checkered flag in the 25-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D SK Light feature, Justin Bren dominated the Limited Late Model feature for his first win of the season, Tyler Trott scored his third win of 2015 in the DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo scored his third win of the season in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tom Bolles spun in turn 2 at the start, but he was able to get moving and the race stayed green. Joey Cipriano was setting the early pace with Glen Reen and Ted Christopher lined up behind him. Ronnie Williams and Ryan Preece were having a great side by side battle for fourth with Williams taking the spot.
Preece went by Williams to take over third and he then went by Christopher to move into second on lap-17 as Cipriano continued to lead the race. Williams followed Preece by Christopher on lap-18 as did Rowan Pennink as Christopher fell back to fifth. Christopher continued to lose spots as Reen, Dan Avery, and Todd Owen all went by before the caution flew with 21 laps complete for Tyler Hines and Michael Gervais, Jr., who both spun in turn 3.
Back under green, Cipriano resumed the lead of the race with Preece pulling alongside Williams for second and taking second. Williams was still on the outside with Pennink nearly alongside, but Williams was able to slot into line behind Preece and keep Pennink behind him. Avery was up to fifth as the leaders settled into single file.
Preece made a bid to the inside of Cipriano for the lead on lap-25, but he wasn’t able to complete the pass. Pennink was now the car making a charge as he pulled alongside Preece for second, but he caution came out with 27 laps complete as Glen Reen found the turn 2 wall and Christopher also spun.
Cipriano took the lead back under green but Preece was hanging tough to his outside. Pennink was third, with Williams behind him and Avery and Owen were side by side behind Avery. Preece took the lead by a nose at the line on lap-30 and he got clear of Cipriano on lap-32 going down the backstretch. Cipriano wasn’t going away without a fight as he came right back to the inside of Preece. The dueling for the lead allowed Pennink and Owen to close in right behind the two leaders to make it a 4-car fight. Owen got loose in turn 3 on lap-34 and fell back. The action at the front was shaping up to be three-wide as Pennink stuck his nose into the mix with Cipriano and Preece but Owen spun in turn 2 to bring the caution out with 34 laps complete.
The first restart was called back and the next restart saw Keith Rocco and Tyler Hines come together and spin to bring the caution back out.
The restart saw Pennink make a 3-wide bid to the inside of Cipriano and Preece in turn 3 with wheels touching and banging but Pennink was unable to complete the pass as Cipriano and Preece resumed their side by side duel. Pennink recovered and was right on the back bumper of both cars with 2 laps to go and Pennink made another 3-wide bid in turn 3, but he backed out of it. As the cars rolled through turn 4, Preece and Cipriano’s touched wheels and they ended up in the wall to bring the caution out. This put Pennink out front with Williams alongside for the restart with Woody Pitkat and Matt Galko in the second row.
Williams and Pennink were side by side on the restart with Williams powering into the lead on the final lap in turn 1. As they race out of turn 2, Williams got sideways and spun, allowing Pennink to take the lead. Pennink led Galko back to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Pitkat finished third, with Gervais, and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Ed Ricard took the early lead with Josh Wood right behind him. The action was fast and furious behind the lead duo as Michael Bennett went past Kevin Gambcorta to move into third. Tom Fearn took fourth and Tom Butler got by Gambacorta on lap-3 to drop him back to sixth place. Wood took over the lead on lap-4 and his move opened the door for Bennett and Fearn to follow him by as Ricard fell back to fourth in line.
Butler took fourth from Ricard on lap-7 and Gambacorta moved by Ricard for fifth on lap-8 as it was now a 3-car duel for the lead with Wood in front of Bennett and Fearn. On lap-15, Bennett pulled alongside Wood for the lead and he was able to complete the pass on lap-16. Fearn followed him by Wood to drop Wood back to third and Fearn made a move to the inside of Bennett on lap-18. Bennett still had the lead the line but Fearn surged by him on lap-19. Wood touched fenders with Bennett on lap-19 and Bennett got loose and fell back into the clutches of Butler and Gambacorta, who both got by Bennett to drop him back to fifth.
Bennett got back by Gambacorta and began to close in on Butler in third as Fearn was starting to stretch out his advantage over Wood. Fearn led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Wood finished second, with Bennett, Gambacorta, and Ricard rounding out the top-5. Butler spun in turn 2 on the final lap and he ended up finishing 10th.
In the 25-lap SK Light Xtra Mart Xtra D feature event, Payton Henry took the early lead with Glenn Griswold making a move to his inside on lap-2 but the caution came out for Nathan Pytko, who spun in turn 4, which negated Griswold’s move.
Griswold took the lead from Henry on the restart, but the caution came out for Kyle Jette, who got into the backstretch wall, which negated Griswold’s pass for the second time.
Griswold took to the outside groove and powered his way into the lead but a multicar incident on the backstretch, involving Vinny Anglace, Stephen Kopcik, and several others brought the caution back out and again put Henry back in front for the restart.
Henry led the field back to the green and he and Griswold were side by side for the lead with Henry leading Griswold by a nose at the line. Griswold again moved in front on lap-3 only to have the caution come out once again for a spin in turn 2 by Jay Goff, which put Henry back in the lead for the restart.
Griswold and Henry were once again side by side for the lead with Henry leading Griswold by a nose at the line. Henry got clear of Griswold on lap-5 with Geoff Boisjolie third, Tony Membrino, Jr. fourth, and Bob Charland in fifth. Charland would lose fifth to D.J. Burnham on lap-7. Boisjolie got loose in turn 2 and spun, which in turn collected the cars of Nick Salva and Joey Ferrigno and brought the yellow back out.
Henry took the lead back under green with Griswold settling into second behind him. Membrino was third, with Burnham in fourth and Daniel Wesson made his first appearance of the night in the top-5. The caution came back out with 11 laps complete for a spin by Mark Alkas in turns 3+4.
Henry took the lead again on the restart while Membrino and Griswold were now side by side for second. Burnham was fourth and Wesson was right behind him in fifth. Membrino nearly got around Henry on lap-15, but Henry was able to fend off his challenge.
Membrino took a shot at Henry every lap from lap-15 to lap-18, but each time Henry was able to keep Membrino behind him and maintain the race lead. Burnham made a move to the inside of Griswold for third on lap-22 and they began to run side by side as Membrino was still giving chase to Henry out front.
Henry held Membrino off to the checkered flag to pick up his second career victory and first of the 2015 season. Burnham finished third, with Griswold and Wesson rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Jeremy Lavoie spun in turn 2 at the start and the field avoided him but the caution came out before a lap could be completed.
Justin Bren took the lead on the restart with Kelsey Rottino glued to his back bumper. Al Saunders was glued to Rottino’s bumper in a 3-car train for the lead with David Comeau and Cliff Saunders side by side for fourth place. Bren pulled away slightly from Rottino and Al Saunders while Cliff Saunders took over fourth and was closing in on his twin brother. Austin Bessette was up to fifth behind Cliff Saunders.
Bren was still in command at the midway point of the race and he had stretched his lead over Rottino out to nearly a half straightaway.
The action behind Bren and Rottino began to pick up with 5 laps to go as Bessette was now alongside Al Saunders with David Arute and Cliff Saunders side by side behind them. Bessette took over third on lap-17 and Arute moved up to fourth as Andrew Hayes got by Al Saunders to take over fifth. Duane Provost also got by Al Saunders on lap-18 as he fell back to seventh with his twin brother Cliff right behind him in eighth.
Bren led the field back to the checkered flag with a dominating performance to pick up his first win of the season. Rottino finished second, with Bessette, Arute, and Hayes rounding out the top-5.
In the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, Marcello Rufrano lead the field to the green and he took the early race lead with Zack Robinson giving chase. Trace Beyer and Chris Bagnall were side by side for third with Tyler Trott side by side with Frank L’Etoile, Jr. Beyer quickly moved into third with Dan Dembek taking fourth and Trott settled into fifth. David Macha, Sr. spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 3 laps complete.
Rufrano took the lead again back under green but Macha brought the caution back out with 6 laps complete with a spin in turn 2. Rufrano resumed command of the race with Trott moving into second. Beyer took third, with Robinson and L’Etoile making up the top-5.
Rufrano held the lead until the final lap when he drifted up the track in turn 2, allowing Trott to get alongside. As they went through turns 3+4, Trott took the lead and led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the season. Beyer also got by Rufrano at the line to finish second with Robinson and L’Etoile, Jr. rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Legends Car feature event, Brett Crowther took the early lead with Andrew Molleur giving chase. Noah Korner went to the lead on lap-3 and he brought Cory DiMatteo, Alex McCollum, Dana DiMatteo, and Devin O’Connell with him as Crowther fell back to sixth place.
With 5 laps to go, Korner was still out front with Cory DiMatteo right on his back bumper. Dana DiMatteo was third, with O’Connell fourth and Glenn Korner fifth. The leaders were encountering heavy lapped traffic in the final laps and on the final lap Connor Holderbach spun directly in front of the leaders. This allowed Cory DiMatteo to get the run he needed on the outside of Korner to pull even with him. They came out of the fourth turn side by side with DiMatteo taking the checkered flag by mere inches as he led only the final lap after Korner led the first 19. Dana DiMatteo came home third, with O’Connell and McCollum rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.